I just got back from seeing Beowulf after someone outed a random: “Hey let’s go see a movie!”, so forgive me is this post is just a randomly jumbled together collection of stray thoughts. Here’s my two cents. (possible spoilers)
Beowulf is a movie that I had been expecting with a mix of trepidation and dread. On the one hand, I loved the original poem, even though I’ve only ever read a translation (I know, shoot me later). On the other hand, the tale of Beowulf has spawned some bad (and I mean bad) movies. The whole 3D thing had me shaking in my boots. For a moment there I thought this would be Shrek: The Viking Edition. I could not have been more wrong.
This movie is a rollercoaster ride. The last third is worth the price of admission alone (hint: giant dragon). This was the first 3D (as in 3D glasses) movie that I’ve ever seen and it certainly won’t be the last. There’s a moment, when Beowulf is flying through a forest, where I was actually dodging branches. It was that good. The other 3D aspect (the digitally rendered actors) was equally amazing. We’ve come a long way since 2001. There was actually a moment when, even though I knew it was artificial, I actually thought: this really looks like the real thing. There’s been some discussion about whether this movie resides in the so called “uncanny valley“. My opinion: no, it’s out and past the valley and heading for the beach.
The performances were great. Anthony Hopkins was great as always. John Malkovich was utter brilliance. That guy is what I call an actor. Angelina Jolie pleasantly surprised me. Ever since sitting through Alexander (that’s 3 hours of my life I’ll never get back) I’ve been convinced that she can’t pull off an accent. Any accent, except maybe a British one. Oh, how I was wrong 🙂 . Ray Winstone (Beowulf) was the only actor I didn’t really like. I thought his portrayal was a bit to “hulk smash”, especially at the beginning, although he does come into his own at the end.
So all in all, go see this movie whether you’re a fan of the poem or just love a good fantasy movie.